Best file format for 3d Print?

  • Hi,

    I ever have used Stl as file format for slice it....

    But the answer is?

    There is other (and better) option for print 3d models?

    And... Why are better?

    Someone used another file format?

  • Here is one opinion for

    (I use STL)

  • IMHO it depends on what you are actually asking.

    For e.g. I keep all the designs I made as "original" files. Why - 'cause that way you can easily make modifications. If you made parametric SOLID model in solidworks or freecad or fusion360 or ... or you made MESH model in Blender or .. the original file is easily editable, while STL as such is a bummer to edit....

    So how to "store" files, I use "original format". That can always be exported to whatever slicer needs.

    To "share" files, I generate STL and share them as that's what most slicers use. It's not ideal so I usually share the source file too along with the STL

    Final part of the question might be "what is best to use to give to slicers to slice" - well, this depends on slicers, since they attm mostly only know how to deal with STL, that's the best you can use... if by some chance "tomorrow" they figure out how to deal with STEP or SCAD or similar solid descriptions..

  • All the FDM slicing engines you can currently get use STL.

    There is at least 1 proprietary slicing engine that is actually doing it natively inside a real CAD engine. But that only comes with the printer and the printer is very expensive.

    STL is an ancient format with many serious limitations.

    The most widely used, non-proprietary (sort-of) format for CAD is STEP. However I'm not aware of a slicing engine that you can currently get that uses STEP.

    Microsoft launched .3MF which was supposed to "fix" the issues of STL, however its (mostly used as) just a container format and Microsoft's slicing engine that they launched at the same time still just uses STL.
    Some slicers will use .3MF and a very similar format called .AMF, but as far as I am aware they are all using STL within those formats.
    .3MF can also contain almost any file, such as DXF (yes, for laser cutting), as its really just a standard format for an XML file that describes what is in the container.

    @zapta said in Best file format for 3d Print?:

    Here is one opinion for

    (I use STL)

    Ah Josef...
    STL stands for Standard Triangle (or tessellation) Language. It predates SLA.

    There was a new mesh format created as part of the .3MF standard, but there is no requirement that you actually use it, an STL is still a totally valid thing to put in your .3MF... in Microsoft's infinite wisdom, they decided that the solution to a terrible mesh format was a new mesh format. Not one of the many solid geometry formats that already had the features they desired.
    Who knows if any of the CAD engines bothered implementing the new mesh format.

    We also have a chicken and egg problem, in that the main advantage right now (because most CAD engines have greatly improved their STL generators) of STEP over STL is the ability to describe curves as real curves.
    However we don't have any printers that accept Arc g-code... Why bother creating a slicer that can create arc g-code when so few printers support it?

    Plus as much as STL might suck. The tools have gotten to the point where its just fine for enough of the time.

    Which is kinda the goal of any format, that it gets enough support that you just forget what it is.

  • @theruttmeister
    Bonus fun fact:

    The .3MF mesh format is technically a triangle mesh, like STL. However you can describe curved triangles with it.

    Which is just plain weird.

  • what do you mean by "many printers not accepting arc g-code", all of the mainstream ones do, marlin supports it, rrf supports it, smoothieware supports it ?! iirc (have not tried myself) also the redeem (replicate stuff) and klipper support it too ... so where dis "many printers" that does not support arc g-code come from?

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